Archive for February, 2016

William Lackey leaving Mizzou New Music Initiative;
Andrew Worden named interim managing director

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is undergoing what might be called a change of the administrative guard.

William J. “Billy” Lackey, who has served as managing director of the Initiative since it was founded in 2009, is leaving Mizzou on March 4 and moving to Minnesota to take a job with American Composers Forum (ACF). Lackey (pictured, top left), who also is an assistant teaching professor of composition at the university, will become vice president of programs for ACF.

A search for a permanent replacement at the Mizzou New Music Initiative will begin immediately. In the meantime, Andrew Worden, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, has accepted the position of interim managing director, starting March 1 and continuing until July 31.

“Billy Lackey’s knowledge, dedication, and hard work have been essential to the success and growth of the Mizzou New Music Initiative over the past seven years,” said Julia Gaines, director of the University of Missouri School of Music. “While we regret losing him as a colleague, our sense of loss is tempered by knowing that he’ll be doing great things for composers in his new job.”

Founded in 1973 as the Minnesota Composers Forum, American Composers Forum is a non-profit organization with headquarters in St. Paul, MN that works to promote and assist American composers and contemporary classical music. It’s the largest organization of its type in the country, and as vice-president of programs, Lackey will head a staff of three administering ACF’s commissions, residencies, and other opportunities and services for composers.

“It’s been an honor to work for the past seven years alongside Mizzou New Music Initiative co-artistic directors Dr. W. Thomas McKenney and Dr. Stefan Freund, MU School of Music staff, faculty, and students,” said Lackey. “I’d also like to thank Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, as the numerous programs we offer would not be possible without her generosity and dedication.”

“I am truly grateful for all of the opportunities provided to me and for the lasting friendships I have made through MNMI, and I think the Initiative has a bright future. Programs are expanding, and new ways of assisting and promoting composers and performers are constantly being discussed, ” he said. “The experience I’ve gained at Mizzou has positioned me well for my new job, and I’m excited about the opportunity, as my passion coincides with ACF’s mission to nurture the creative spirit of composers and communities.”

Lackey’s interim replacement Andrew Worden (pictured, lower left) is a native of Arizona who graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2014 with a master’s degree in percussion performance and an arts leadership certificate.

Since then, he’s been a post-graduate fellow in an Eastman program to promote musicians’ health, collaborating with healthcare providers to develop wellness practices for musicians. Worden also has been involved in a number of music-related entrepreneurial ventures during his time in Rochester, founding or co-founding four different performing ensembles and directing two others.

Deviant Septet to present world premiere of David Liptak’s “Focusing”
in concert Friday, February 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall


The new music group Deviant Septet will present the world premiere of “Focusing,” a new work by composer David Liptak, as part of their concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, February 26 at Whitmore Recital Hall, 151 Fine Arts Building on the University of Missouri campus. Admission is free and open to the public.

The performance will be the final event of simultaneous residencies that week at Mizzou for Liptak and Deviant Septet (pictured), with the premiere of “Focusing” representing the culmination of a three-year process that began in 2013 with a commissioning grant from the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation.

Started in 1942 by Serge Alexandrovich Koussevitzky, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a famous advocate for modern music, the Foundation over the years has commissioned works from a “who’s who” of 20th and 21st century composers, from Bartók, Berio, and Bernstein to Stockhausen, Stravinsky, and Varèse.

In addition to the concert and world premiere, the residencies of Liptak and Deviant Septet will include a public convocation of the School of Music at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, February 25 at Whitmore Recital Hall.

Liptak also will coach the Mizzou New Music Ensemble in a rehearsal, and give a master class at 4:00 p.m. Friday, February 26 in Fine Arts Building Room 146. Deviant Septet’s visit will include a session in which they’ll read works from student composers at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 24 at Whitmore Hall.

Liptak is professor of composition and former chair of the composition department at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. Before Eastman, Liptak taught at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois.

His music has been performed by ensembles including the San Francisco Symphony, Montreal Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Youngstown Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera of Illinois, New England Philharmonic, and more.

Hailed as “exciting” by the New York Times, “superb” by the Washington Post, and “exceedingly fun” by Time Out New York, Deviant Septet is an ensemble of top classical and avant-garde musicians that for this concert will include Mizzou’s own assistant visiting professor Bill Kalinkos (clarinet, executive director), Mike Gurfield (trumpet, artistic director), Gabriela Diaz (violin), Brad Balliett (bassoon), Doug Balliett (double bass), Michael Lormand (trombone), and Jared Soldiviero (percussion).

Their musical mission is to fulfill the vision that Igor Stravinsky had for the ensemble instrumentation used in his composition “L’Histoire du Soldat,” creating a distinctive repertoire for the unique blend of instrumental voices that includes “the soprano and bass voice of every instrument family.”

Individually, the members of Deviant Septet also perform with various contemporary groups including Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Signal, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble ACJW, Wordless Music Orchestra, and Talea Ensemble, and have collaborated with artists such as The National, David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, The Dirty Projectors, Tyondai Braxton, St. Vincent, John Zorn, and many others.

Missouri Composers Orchestra Project selects six works for concert on March 20

For many young composers, writing for orchestra or chorus represents a significant pinnacle of achievement, offering artistic satisfaction and enhancing credibility and career opportunities.

Reaching that pinnacle, however, also requires getting that new, large ensemble work played in public, which is not always an easy task when resources are scarce and many music directors tend to rely on familiar favorites.

Now, six up-and-coming composers are getting a boost from the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP), as their orchestral and choral works will be performed by the Columbia Civic Orchestra (CCO) and the Columbia Chamber Choir at a concert on Sunday, March 20 in Columbia.

The compositions were chosen in the fifth annual competition conducted under the auspices of MOCOP, a collaborative effort involving the CCO, Chamber Choir, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

The 2016 MOCOP competition included for the first time both choral and orchestral works in five categories – three for Missouri composers, and two added this year specifically for composers currently studying at schools in the Southeastern Conference.

All the winners will receive a $500 honorarium from the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, and the composers selected from SEC schools also will receive travel expenses so they can attend the final rehearsal and concert. This year’s selected works and their composers are:

Missouri Open – Orchestral: “Wafting Mists” by Daniel Morel, a doctoral student at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Morel also holds degrees from Bucknell University (BA) and The Hartt School, University of Hartford (MM, AD).

Missouri High School – Orchestral: “Nightmare Waltz” by Emily Shaw, a sophomore at Gloria Deo Academy in Springfield, MO.

Missouri High School – Choral: “Solar Flare” by Ethan Forte, a senior at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, MO.

SEC Student – Orchestral: “A Cypress Prelude” by Christopher Lowry, a DMA student at Louisiana State University (LSU). Lowry, who plays viola with several regional orchestras, also has a bachelor of music degree from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and a master of music degree from LSU.

SEC Student – Choral: “When I am Dead, My Dearest” by Ryan Stennes, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in composition at the University of Tennessee.

The concert also will include a performance of “Routine Android,” an orchestral work by University of Missouri senior composition major Luke Henderson that was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 2016 MOCOP competition.

The CCO and the Columbia Chamber Choir will perform all the selected works in a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway in Columbia. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Columbia Civic Orchestra is a volunteer group located in Columbia, Missouri, dedicated to providing enjoyment for its members and audiences with the presentation and preservation of high-quality symphonic music.

The Columbia Chamber Choir in a subset of the Columbia Chorale, which works to promote choral music of the highest artistic quality and to stimulate a greater community understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music by presenting programs appealing to a wide cross-section of Missouri residents and visitors.

The Missouri Composers Orchestra Project (MOCOP) is a collaborative effort by the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, the Mizzou New Music Initiative, the Columbia Civic Orchestra, and the Columbia Chamber Choir to bring attention to new large ensemble works written in the state of Missouri and by SEC student composers. By identifying composers and providing opportunities for the performance of their work, MOCOP intends to showcase emerging talent from Missouri and SEC schools and share it with the world.

$2 million gift provides continued support for new music at Mizzou


In a news conference on Monday, February 1, the University of Missouri announced that Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield have given a gift of more than $2 million over three years to support the Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI). The MNMI brings together a diverse array of programs which position the MU School of Music as a leading national and international center in the areas of composition and new music. This latest gift will support the MNMI through 2019.

The Sinquefields are long-time supporters of music and the arts, specifically music composition. The Sinquefields’ support for composition at Mizzou began more than 10 years ago with the Creating Original Music Project, a statewide K-12 competition and affiliated high school summer camp. In 2009, they gave MU $1 million to create the Mizzou New Music Initiative. With this most recent gift, the Sinquefields have given nearly $4.5 million to support the MNMI and more than $15 million, including a $10 million gift in support of a new School of Music building, in total giving to MU.

“The Sinquefields’ most recent gift helps position the MU School of Music as a recognized leader in music composition nationally and throughout the world,” MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said. “By combining their love of the arts with their financial support to MU, the Sinquefelds have found a meaningful way to showcase their passion for musical composition and their love of performance arts. We are grateful for their generosity and for their leadership in supporting the arts here in Missouri, nationally and internationally.”

“We want Mizzou and Missouri to become an international mecca for music composition,” Jeanne Sinquefield said. “There are so many talented young composers, but there is a lack of public funding for programs and scholarships to support them. We are thrilled with the success the MNMI has enjoyed in its first seven years, and we are excited to help support its growth into the future.”